Belarus executed third death verdict in this year

The Homel resident Aliaksandr Hrunou, who had been sentenced to death, was executed by shooting. It was learned on 4 November from his mother Volha Hrunova. Human rights defenders protest against this form of punishment and are concerned about another convict, who awaits for the execution.

Volha Hrunova told human rights defenders, that she received a post notice for receiving a parcel. In the parcel, there were the clothes which Aliaksandr was wearing during his stay on the death row in the prison in Valadarski Street in Minsk.  

A day earlier, human rights defenders learned, that Aliaksandr Hrunou was denied clemency: on 13 October his case came to the Homel Regional Court with the corresponding mark.

It should be emphasized, that the death penalty sentences in Belarus are usually executed immediately, once a person is denied his plea for clemency. Families or legal representatives are not informed about the date of execution, the last meeting with the prisoner is not guaranteed, after the execution the body is not returned to the family for burial and the burial place is not reported.

Homel resident Hrunou was sentenced to death by a court in the city of Homel on 14 June 2013 for the brutal murder of a female student. On 22 October 2013, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus overturned the death sentence passed by the Homel Regional Court against Aliaksandr Harunou and returned the case for reconsideration to the court of first instance, but on 24 December 2013 the regional court again sentenced him to death. Aliaksandr Harunou’s case was pending with the UN Human Rights Committee. The Committee had requested that the sentence not be carried out until it had considered the case, but, as in previous instances, the Belarusian authorities carried out the execution regardless.

It should be recalled, that in April, 24-year-old student Pavel Sialiun and 45-year-old Ryhor Yuzepchuk were executed by shooting. At present, human rights defenders have information about one more prisoner awaiting execution – 54-year-old Eduard Lykau.

Human rights defenders have condemned the executed death sentence

International human rights organization Amnesty   International condemned the execution of prisoner Aliaksandr Hrunou, who was convicted of murder.”This is the third execution in Belarus in 2014 – is said in the statement of the human rights organization. – It only became known on 4 November that Aliaksandr Harunou’s appeal for clemency had been denied on 13 October and also on 4 November his mother received a parcel containing the clothes he wore while on death row.According to Belarusian anti-death penalty activists, this is something that happens only after someone has been executed. Aliaksandr Harunou’s family and lawyer expect to receive official confirmation within the next few days. They were not informed of the date of the execution or given the opportunity for a final meeting with him, in violation of internationally recognized standards on the application of the death penalty.” – say the representatives of Amnesty International.

Following a period of twenty-four months in which no executions took place, Belarus has executed three prisoners so far in 2014. In doing so, Belarus remains the last executioner in the whole of Europe and Central Asia and has ignored not just its legal human rights obligations but also the clear regional and global trend towards abolition of the death penalty. Amnesty International reiterates its call for Belarus to introduce an immediate moratorium on the death penalty and commute all existing death sentences.

According to Amnesty   International, in Belarus, death sentences are implemented in strict secrecy and without giving adequate notice to the prisoners, their families or their legal representatives. Condemned prisoners are given no warning that they are about to be executed; instead they are taken out of their cells, told that their appeal for clemency has been turned down, and then forced to their knees and shot in the back of the head. Their families are only informed days or sometimes weeks after their relative has been executed. 

The Criminal Executive Code allows the authorities to refuse to return the bodies of those executed to their families or to even inform them of the location of the burial site. In October 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus stated: “The way the death penalty is carried out in Belarus amounts to inhuman treatment.”

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